Americans are very ignorant
Jan 29th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

US officials flunk test of American history, economics, civics. 33-question quiz here []

Their average score on the civic literacy test is 44%, compared to 49% for those who have not held an elected office.

I got 97%, missing one due to carelessness. Clearly I’m totally unqualified for an elected office in the Evil Empire.

Way to sabotage your former employer
Jan 28th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Obama Looking To Symantec CEO For Commerce. patentpundit writes “Word has started to circulate that President Barack Obama may be close to appointing John W. Thompson, the outgoing chief executive of network security firm Symantec Corp., to be the next Secretary of Commerce. According to the LA Times, over the last several days Thompson has spoken on the telephone and met with key senators, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a member of the commerce committee that would hold confirmation hearings for any appointed Secretary of Commerce, is ‘extremely supportive and hopeful he’ll be the nominee.’ The appointment of Thompson to head the Department of Commerce would be an exceptionally interesting choice given that only days ago President Obama asked Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, to lead his open source charge and conduct a study and report back regarding the feasibility of the US government forgoing proprietary software and moving toward open source software solutions.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


I certainly hope this doesn’t happen, as it would be quite bad for the credibility of a company that specializes in security software if the former CEO goes to work for the single greatest threat to everyone’s security.

The number of builds I’m respo…
Jan 16th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

The number of builds I’m responsible for just hit 300. :-/

All caught up on scanning.
Jan 15th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

All caught up on scanning.

Going in to the office for the…
Jan 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Going in to the office for the first time since June. I haven’t missed it.

Because people are not ants
Jan 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Open-plan offices make workers sick. “Australian scientists have reviewed a global pool of research into the effect of modern office design, concluding the switch to open-plan has led to lower productivity and higher worker stress.”

Need to hire a really great programmer? Want a job that doesn’t drive you crazy? Visit the Joel on Software Job Board: Great software jobs, great people.

[Joel on Software]

I’m not surprised. It was Symantec’s decision to switch to an open office plan at their new Culver City facility that led to me working from home full-time, and on those rare occasions when I am in my assigned space there I find it almost impossible to accomplish anything that requires serious thought or concentration.

Walking around Koreatown while…
Jan 11th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Walking around Koreatown while my scanner works.

Scanning photos of Javier Dunn…
Jan 11th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Scanning photos of Javier Dunn.

Patent trolls attack
Jan 9th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Microsoft, Symantec, more sued over OS permissions patent.

A small Texas firm has filed a lawsuit against more than 20 companies, including Microsoft, AVG, and Novell, for violating its patents over data permissions and application authentication. It is unclear whether the firm may actually have a leg to stand on, but it certainly didn’t show restraint when picking who to face off against in court.

Read More…

[Ars Technica]

There’s another very similar story on Ars Technica: 36 companies named in parental control infringement lawsuit. These things are never really about damages–rather, the company holding the bogus patent (which invariably exists for the sole purpose of collecting bogus patents) sues some big company, estimates how much it will cost to fight the lawsuit, and then offers to settle. For example, let’s say that the patent trolls in Texas figure that it will cost Symantec five million dollars to fight the lawsuit (which everyone knows Symantec would win), so they offer to settle for $2.5 million. It’s basically a form of extortion which is legal in the US.

Garageband ’09 “Artist Lessons”
Jan 8th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

I came across this comment on MacInTouch:

iLife 09’s “killer application” has to be Garage Band’s Artist Lessons. Not because it’s a cool way to learn music. Nor because it is another revenue stream for Apple.

It’s an attempt by Apple to circumvent the music industry labels. iTunes is a preferred gateway to new music for many consumers already. But in order to get that music Apple is still having to use the intermediaries who own the distribution rights to those tracks.

Now Apple is creating a comprehensive 3-way link between the fan, the artist and Apple. At some point the traditional distribution medium and corporate apparatus will become moot under this arrangement as the artists will less and less rely on a label and can have the ability to interact with fans at a truly individual and personal level.

Future artists will get their exposure directly via portals like iTunes, and with features like Artist Lessons can add value to the experience, something that entirely bypasses the current distribution and promotion system.

It’s a brilliant end-run against the established industry. Certainly it won’t work for some genres in the teaser form we saw at the keynote, but it definitely opens up interesting possibilities when fans can interact directly with artists with an agnostic technical enabler like Apple getting a cut of the transaction. Labels will increasingly see new artists bypass their system for this more direct interaction and will become reliant on legacy catalogues alone. They’ll lose clout over iTunes marketing and distribution techniques and costs. Nothing value added from the established industry has worked since the music video revolution almost 20 years ago. Artists Lessons and derivatives have the potential to be just as transcending. It has that mass market populist streak to it that goes to the heart of Apple’s design fort?.

In its current form the product needs work to get beyond Apple’s often overly cute aesthetic sterility (sex, drugs, and Fogerty’s “bright” chords?) but it is nevertheless strategically innovative.

TS Low

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